Round 4

April 15, 2013

Hey folks, long time no see!
I wanted to take a minute to update you on a few things going on with our girl. First off, I never touched base after her 3rd round 2 1/2 weeks ago. The infusion itself went pretty well, she did begin to react to the Taxotere again, but they stopped it and gave her 2-3 minute to settle and then restarted it and it finished out smoothly. They did the whole infusion at the slower rate, so I think we were at the hospital for 6-7 hours which was a damn joy, let me tell you. This was even with no complications. What a day man, what a day.
The side-effects that followed that infusion were the worst yet. She had some serious bone pain from the shot of Neulasta that I gave her on the Friday night following the infusion. What Neulasta does is stimulate the bone marrow to essentially overproduce white blood cells, which is good because obviously chemo kills off white blood cells.  This is a big deal because white blood cells (specifically neutrophyls, which are a type of white blood cell) are the fighter cells in one's immune system; They're like ninjas that keep infection at bay.  If you recall back to her first chemo, she ended up in the hospital 8 days after the infusion and stayed for 4 days because she got an infection that her body couldn't fight off because her immune system was shot because her white blood cell count was so low...All the ninjas were dead.  The Neulasta makes her bones feel like what a marshmallow in the microwave looks like.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go put a marshmallow in the microwave and then picture that happening inside your femur. (Better yet, do a Peep) It feels this way because the drug is making the marrow work super hard to compensate for the effects of chemo.  Needless to say, it doesn't feel like sipping a mai-tai on a Hawaiian beach...
So there's that.  She is, for the most part doing better now that we are 2 1/2 weeks out from that infusion.  Sleeping has been a challenge, it's pretty hit-or-miss with the quanitity and quality.  Last night was great, the previous three nights were awful.  Now to be clear, her sleeping on Saturday night was impaired because her darling husband was coughing like an asthmatic sea-horse and waking her up every 12 minutes.  It was, like, ridick. Totes ridick. (For those of you over 45, that means "totally ridiculous")
And no, I have no idea what an asthmatic sea-horse sounds like.But you can imagine.
Now - looking forward.  The 4th and final round of chemo is encroaching and cramping our style a bit. That will be this Thursday and it's really very bittersweet.  Obviously it's chemo, and no one in the history of this great green earth has every looked forward to that.  At the same time, this is the last one and that means that this whole process is coming that much closer to it's own fiery demise.  That's how I view it...we are going to end this thing with grace and poise and go out of cancer and into remission in a blaze of glory! The sweet side of this is just that - the blaze of glory.  We look forward to this Thursday because it marks the end of the chemo portion of beating cancer.  That means only one more weekend of nausea, one more week of bone pain, one more weekend of sleeping 10 hours a day, etc. This means only a few more weeks of slowly rebuilding her body and getting her energy back and working herself back up to full strength.  Chemo is frustrating because the large-and-in-charge side effects like the nausea and bone pain and such are relatively short lasting, but there are some other more covert symptoms that are harder to pinpoint and dont have as overriding an effect on her body, but tend to last longer and fly just under the radar. Fatigue is one of's not something that beyond the initial 5-6 days controls her or straight-up stops her from functioning.  It does sort of pervade everything though and for the first 2 weeks she is all of a sudden sitting at her desk at work and at 1 in the afternoon is just...done. She doesn't see it coming really, but it compiles and then hits her.
This sort of stuff is so frustrating because she just can't exist normally.  She can't just be her lively self and feel like it too.  What I mean is that many times she is acting as she is supposed to (at work, in public, etc.) but there's a good chance she doesn't physically feel as good as it may appear.  That's also what I mean when I tell people she is a damn trooper.  She just soldiers on and gets done what she needs to get done and does it with a smile.  It's amazing really...
So...pray for us in that please.  Pray for endurance and for strength and for rest and repair on her and our bodies. Pray for our attitudes, we are both seriously dreading Thursday.  Not the way either of us wants to spend our Thursday, or the rest of the weekend either.  Alas, such is life.
Her final surgery, to complete the reconstruction will happen on May 22nd.  The details of this are forthcoming, probably after chemo. It's a long and detailed explantion, mostly because I will have to make profuse use of the words boobies, areola, nipple, etc.  I have to take my time to construct this bad-boy ;)
To end with a great story - Last Saturday night, we were treated by some friends of ours to a one of a kind experience.  The called it Bingo, Booze and Boobies.  Aptly named, I must say.  About 25 of us got together at their house, to enjoy pink cake balls, pink cupcakes, pink gumballs, nice beer and wine in pink cups, pink decorations, pink leis, pink PINK PINK.  You get the point... This whole gaggle of people then sat down together to play boobie bingo, where I got to call the bingo numbers.  Because I am who I am, and calling "B-13" is boring, it then became "BOOBIES-13!!!" and so on.  To what words I attached the I-N-G-O, I leave that to your imagination...
These fine people all paid $25 to get in to this event, which was then given to us...did I mention that these friends of ours, on their own dime, paid for all of the food and drink and then gave us all the proceeds from the door?  What an amazing gift. To further give credit where credit it due, it was really special to talk with them and hear how they got to the place where they asked if they could do this for us.  They wrestled with it for something like 4 months and upon the pull of the Lord, they moved on it.  Because they responded to God, we received on Saturday night an amount of money that was almost to the dollar identical to the remaining amount we owe on our insurance deductible last year. God is GOOD.  Oh, and the math does NOT add up with what they were charging at the door, how many people came and how much we walked away with...many people gave far more at the door than they were asked. 
We were awestruck at the generosity we experienced that night.  From both the fine folks who hosted, but then the people who came.  We didn't even know probably a third of the people there that night...and they came to support us anyway.

It was really amazing.  The Lord provides, he will not leave us nor forsake us.  Neither will he you.
Have a wonderful day, for those of you in the Northern Colorado area, drive safely.  Or find an empty parking lot and drive like an donuts like your life depended on it.  Either way, enjoy the beauty that is FINALLY a decent snow total, and thanks from the bottom of our heart for taking care of us and loving us.  Your faithfulness in prayer and support is so appreciated!

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